WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) today announced $6 million in federal funding to expand broadband access in Southwest Virginia. The investments are expected to expand job and economic opportunities in a region where average household incomes continue to lag behind both the national average and other places in Virginia.
“In the 21st century, high-speed internet access is essential,” said the Senators. “We are pleased to announce this federal investment that will increase opportunities for employment, education and services in Southwest Virginia.”
In Buchanan County, iGo Technology Inc. will receive $3 million to extend broadband access to an additional 820 homes and businesses.
The Scott County Telephone Cooperative will also receive a grant of $3 million to upgrade its current broadband infrastructure in the Dungannon area of Scott County where there is not 10/1 Mbps (10/1) service available. The proposed project upgrade will provide 592 customers more robust broadband infrastructure with greater reliability and higher networking speeds of up to one (1) Gig to each location.
The funds were awarded through the Community Connect Grant Program, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, that helps fund broadband deployment into rural communities where it is not yet economically viable for private sector providers to deliver service. The grants were announced today along with USDA funding for 17 other projects in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia and Wisconsin. Virginia received more federal grant funding to expand rural broadband service than any other state.
Warner and Kaine have been strong supporters of expanding broadband access in Virginia as Governors and Senators, and have encouraged President Trump to include broadband as part of any bipartisan infrastructure initiative.